Saturday, November 10, 2007

Irish Warriors Hall Of Fame: Al Attles

Long before there was a first all Black Superbowl which is what happenned in February 2007 there was a coach making history by himself. Not only was 1975 historic for havinng two black skinned coaches on the opposing sideline but Attles coaching and motivation skills made part of the difference as the Warriors shocked the world on their way to a 1975 Championship. He also had a severe temper which made Maurice Cheeks look like a softie but enough of that. Lets examine Attles illustrious career.

Attles seems to have a knack for being in an historic situation but also earned the nickname "The Destroyer" which saw opponenets on the floor more too often. At that time there were a lot less Foul calls. He first started out at north Carolina A&T before being drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors. Little did he know that soon he was to be witness to Wilts 100 point game which was seen by little but remembered by everyone. Al himself this day was a perfect 8 for 8 from the floor. He gives the perfect account here

After the game, Wilt was in the dressing room and he wasn't celebrating like the rest of us.
I said, "Wilt what's the matter?"
He said, "I never thought I'd take 60 shots in a game."
I said, "But you made 36--that's better than 50 percent."
He said, "But Al--63 shots, Al."
Then he just shook his head.

Attles was very much a role player on the San Francisco Warriors team that made it to the NBA Finals team in 1964 that lost in 5 to the Boston Celtics. Playing in the dumpy Cow Palace which hosted two NBA final games in 1975 it's safe to say it wasn't the most well run organistation evident by the fact Rick Barry walked out because he was angered by management's failure to pay him certain incentive awards he felt he was due. Al later decided to become one of the first African american coaches in the NBA in 1970. He took control of an organsistation that had yet to hit it's stride but once Rick Barry came back the magical championship of 1975 was in place. Many people even the Franchise itself dismissed the chances of success in the playoffs so home games were scheduled in the Cow Palace a venue not fit for a Basketball game. A tough 7 game series victory in Chicago which featured Jerry sloan as the hardnosed PG and golden State went on to face Washinton which featured We unseld the undersized but determined Center and elvin Hayes who averaged 18 boards a game that year. Golden State had a coaching job on their hands.

After capturing the championship in the biggest upset in American Sports history sadly Golden State never lived up to the prominance that year and Attles retired in 1983 compiling a 557-518 regular season record ( 558-548 overall in 14 seasons with 6 playoff years). He will not only be remembered for his Finals vicroy but for his policy of including everyone.

And I always had sympathy for guys who never had a chance to play. The general coaching feeling was that you used seven or eight guys, and then there were four guys or so who never got a chance to play.

"So if they didn't play, as a coach, how could you realistically expect them to perform when they did get an opportunity?".

"Let's say you're a player, and you're driving to the game, and you never get a chance to play," says Attles, . "Even on the drive to the game, you're not really thinking about the game because you know you never (play). But if you play every night, you're thinking about what you want to do, who you're playing and things like that."

Attles later become Assistant General manager aand vice president of the Golden State Warriors but left his postion in 2004. He is deservedly the 5th inductee into the Irish Warriors Hall Of Fame

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